The&Partnership and content verification specialists Adloox have joined forces to launch a new investigation into the scale and impact of ad fraud, as Adloox suggest the extent of adspend wasted globally each year on fraudulent websites and views may be larger than previously reported.
The&Partnership’s Johnny Hornby (below) says: “New formats of fraudulent activity are appearing all the time and, as the strategies behind them become more sophisticated, the risks to brands and publishers increase. From our conversations with Adloox, we have reason to suspect the amount of global adspend going to waste each year on fraudulent websites, non-human views and through content fraud may be higher than recent reports, such as the US’s Assocation of National Advertisers’ $7.2bn, suggest.*
“According to Adloox, these reports may even have underestimated the problem by as much as 50 per cent. If this is the case, we must get to the bottom of it – which is why we’re partnering with Adloox to launch a new study, investigating whether ad fraud is costing our clients even more than we are aware, and outlining the implications for brands, publishers, tech companies and the media industry.”
Adloox CEO Marco Ricci says: “Our early insights suggest that a significant proportion of fraud is going undetected – even by other specialists – and that the scale of the problem could even be twice as high as previously reported. Much deeper auditing of ad campaigns, and more stringent health checks on supplier sources of audience traffic are needed if we want to get to the bottom of ad fraud and stop the problem growing.”
Founded in 2009, Adloox’s Fraud Forensics team specialises in pre-bid content verification – using specialist technology to weed out fraudulent websites and non-human users, preventing a bid before it takes place on the programmatic exchange.
Adloox is the UK content verification partner for media agency m/SIX, which is a partner in The&Partnership. Together Adloox and m/SIX claim to have reduced non-human traffic for clients such as TalkTalk to less than 0.3 per cent, far below the industry benchmark of 10-15 per cent. Adloox also says it has increased viewability for its clients to nearer 75 per cent, far above the ‘accepted’ benchmark of 40-50 per cent.
Ricci says: “Although almost all major brands have some form of verification policy in place, many of them are only ‘monitoring’ their viewability scores on a post-bid model after the automated sale has already taken place, and not taking into account that the fraudsters are skewing their viewability.
“We need to move away from top-line brand safety scores and meaningless benchmarks of acceptability, and start verifying the underlying symptoms of fraud, to catch and blacklist fraudsters before they become a problem for brands.”
*In January 2014, the USA’s ANA partnered with cyber-security company White Ops to launch ‘The 2014 Bot Baseline Report’. The study concluded that, in 2016 the advertising industry globally could lose $7.2bn to bot fraud.